Luke 'Ming' Flanagan at centre of controversy after calling female worker a 'puppy'
IRISH MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has found himself at the centre of a fresh controversy after he labelled a female worker a “puppy”, Independent.ie can reveal.
Mr Flanagan used the term to describe the personal assistant of his European parliament colleague, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness.
The incident happened at a meeting in the parliament in Brussels last week.
Sources told Independent.ie that Mr Flanagan went on a "rant" over why no Fine Gael MEP was present at an event organised for survivors of sexual abuse.
He is understood to have pointed at the assistant - who was in the room representing Ms McGuinness - and labelled her a "puppy".
Independent.ie has confirmed that Ms McGuinness is set to make a formal complaint to the parliament's authorities over the treatment if her assistant.
Sources say the woman in question was left deeply upset.
Independent.ie sent a query to Mr Flanagan about the incident this afternoon.
He took to twitter, confirming that he described the assistant as a "puppy".
"So instead of any of the four turning up they sent an assistant. I commented, 'You don’t send a puppy to win the greyhound derby' @MaireadMcGMEP now looking for an apology for calling her assistant a puppy..."
So instead of any of the four turning up they sent an assistant. I commented "You don’t send a puppy to win the greyhound derby" @MaireadMcGMEP now looking for an apology for calling her assistant a puppy. In the meantime VOCADS continue to be treated like dirt. #priorities https://t.co/4zN4VJoT0d— Luke 'Ming' Flanagan (@lukeming) November 27, 2017
VOCADS is a group that represents survivors of sexual abuse.
Independent.ie understands that another female worker who witnessed the incident has said she is prepared to make a statement on behalf of Ms McGuinness's assistant.
The event was chaired by Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ni Riada.
Ms Riada said she did not witness the incident as she focused on chairing the event.
"It is up to Luke 'Ming' Flanagan to deal with this but certainly this kind of behaviour shouldn't be tolerated," Ms Ni Riada told Independent.ie.
"For me though, the focus should be on the lads who came over to tell their story. They have gone through a far more harrowing experience."